This is the lady whom helped me make my big decision. I owe her a lot for I have struggled all my life till heath had gotten really bad. Dr. Umbach saved my life. I am still in fight mode and wont let myself be defeated. but thanks to this very letter from another sleever she held nothing back and was so impressed with her honesty. I did not suffer her things but at least I was prepared. Hope this helps others too.
I'm actually located in TX, but I would be happy to answer any questions you have about belite, surgery, the hospital, the border, and anything else you have questions with. I'm an open book, so if I don't cover something feel free to ask....even things that sound/seem gross....I work in healthcare...nothing is gross to me.
I guess I'll just kind of start at the beginning of my journey and go from there. I really did my research about Belite and going across the border from the beginning. My psychologist is actually who brought it up to me (she had a patient do it), I had been denied three times by my insurance to have it in the states, and I was devastated. I was honestly to the point of feeling like I was dying one way or another (life in general or on the operating table). I too was scared to death....up until they were putting me on the operating table and sedating me.
I went through Belite and their financing program. I actually went by myself, because I have a child that I needed my parents to take care of. I flew to El Paso and there was a driver waiting for me at baggage, a very nice man. It took about an hour to get across the border, but it was around 3pm and school was getting out and lots of traffic. Once in Mexico we went straight to the hospital (Star Medica) (about 15 min or so). The hospital is secure and has a secure parking lot and guards at the entrance. The driver escorted me in and showed me where I needed to be...that parts a little confusing. When you walk in there are some glass doors towards the back wall on the left, if he had not taken me in I don't know if I would have known exactly where to go. So that was registration, the ladies there did not speak English very well so they called one of the doctors (the psychologist...I cannot remember his name at the moment...starts with a C...sorry). He spoke perfect English and got all the paperwork done with me, I paid the balance, he escorted me to have a chest X-ray, then to my room, ordered me my last meal, and set up testing for the evening (EKG and blood work). I was very anxious so he ordered me a Xanax for bed to sleep. I was scheduled for the next morning for surgery. Of course all night they wake you up and take vitals...just like normal in any hospital. They did tell me that I could leave the hospital that night as long as I check in and out...there is a mall and movie theatre across the street, but there was no way I was leaving my secure surroundings to wonder around Mexico and I would not recommend it to anyone...even if you don't go alone.
The next morning a nurse came and brought me towels and soap and had me shower and changed my bedding. Then I waited....for what seemed like forever for surgery. Anesthesiologist came and visited with me....she even prayed with me since I was scared. Then about 30 min later they took me to the operating room, where support hose were put on me and a bonnet over my hair. Then the Anesthesiologist was there again making sure I was ok and reassuring me she was there and with me. Then off to sleep I went. I faintly remember being in recovery....I mostly remember then saying my name....then I was in my room again.
I slept on and off and tried to walk as much as possible like they recommend. There was some pain...I could tell when I was getting close to another dose of pain meds. I also had nausea (but I get nausea with anesthesia...I get nausea anyways). So they gave me meds for that to. So here's where it might get nasty, but with me you get the good, the bad, and the ugly. I did get sick at one point and threw up a huge blood clot...not goanna lie it hurt and looked nasty, but afterwards I actually felt better. So continued with the walking, sleeping, walking, sleeping....until they brought me ice chips...then sucked on them some (your mouth is so dry). Of course again you have constant attention with vitals and meds and IV fluids. The staff was awesome, I had a great nurse named Ruben that prayed with me and let me cry when I hurt (I jokingly called him my mom). I can honestly say I was treated better there than I have ever been treated in the states at a hospital (with the exception of when I gave birth). I can also honestly say the hospital was so much cleaner than hospitals in the states (I have worked in several here). Some of the nurses spoke broken English (they give you a sheet to translate and point, but I never had to use it). There was always a doctor and nurse that spoke perfect English though, so if I called for a nurse and they couldn't understand me someone was there with in minutes that could. Mostly its the housekeeping staff that didn't speak English (they would just say "trash" and take out the trash) and the nurses that take your vitals and help you bathe.
So night two was a little rough...I could only lay on one side because you have a drain in and the drain is uncomfortable. Once the drain was out the next day I was pretty much pain free except for when I tried to "eat" (broth, jello, tea, ice). Again nurse helps you shower and bathe. So you also have the "leak" test on day three. NASTY! Doctor take you to a fluoroscopy machine and you drink contrast and they check for leaks...I gagged...no joke. Its not like barium if you have ever had that...its a thin liquid like water...but tastes like crap! You only have to get a little down, then they let you rinse your mouth.
After that your done...you keep your walking up and then your ready to go home. I did have a different driver on the way back (he was waiting for me at registration, who was so sweet, he was like a tour guide on the way back pointing out historical sites and even offered to stop and let me shop if I wanted to. It did not take long at all to get back across the border. They did ask for my passport, why I was there, and I declared my medication and they opened my bag and looked at it and that was it.
I honestly feel that this has saved my life and I have no regrets. It is in no way easy or a magic solution. You will have pain, you will cry, you will have struggles, but I promise its all worth it. You will be so bored with protein shakes and soups at the beginning, just know it gets better and you will feel so much better!! I never went back to caffeine and that was my drug of choice and I feel so much better. I'm allergic to aspartame so I don't put that in my body and I feel great. I also don't have the health problems I did 100 pounds ago!! Its amazing!
My surgery date was October 4th, 2012. So my stats are: Started at 324 (I did prediet for 3 weeks), went into hospital at 302, and I'm at 222. So down 102 pounds total. I'm 5'10" and my personal goal is 180 at this point (which to some sounds high...but I'm a tall German gal). Was a size 26 and down to a 14.
Oh let me give you some advise while I'm writing this novel...ha! Take Gas-X strips with you....they really help...I used them while in the hospital and for about two months after. They also are great for after that nasty leak test cause they are minty. Take as little as possible. I took a nightgown, a change of clothes, several panties, and toiletries. I took my computer and a book and I didn't end up looking at either. I watched TV and slept...honestly I wasn't bored. They do have English stations. I made a friend there that was having surgery the same day and we still talk...so look for the others pushing their IV pole around and walking...helps time go by faster when you have someone to walk with and to lean on once your home.
Once your home....your not goanna poop like normal....you don't eat anymore...but it will eventually happen. Watch for signs of dehydration (at first you can only take tiny little sips and its very hard to get your water in). I did end up having two IV's for fluid in the first month. It gets to where you can take bigger sips. Chew, chew, chew...chew til its nasty almost. Follow the rules and you will do fine. You may find things that don't agree with you...like I have to eat moist meat...or have gravy on it. Your body lets you know pretty fast what's not goanna work...but it will eventually. My taste has totally changed, things I used to like do not taste good anymore and honestly its for the best....its things I shouldn't be eating. Its awkward for your friends and family....for you to sit there and not eat....just tell them its weird for them not you...they also tend to question if your "allowed" to eat things. Wow this has just been one big run on sentence/email.
I hope all this has been helpful. I wish someone had written me a novel with step by step instructions. Please do not hesitate to call me or email me with anything you need. Support is very important in this.
Height: 5 feet 3 inches
Starting Weight: 312 lbs
Weight on Day of Surgery: 302 lbs
Current Weight: 235 lbs
Goal Weight: 140 lbs
Weight Lost: 77 lbs
Surgery: Gastric Sleeve
Surgery Status: Post Surgery
First Dr. Visit: 05/06/2013
Surgery Date: 05/07/2013
Hospital Stay: 3 Days
Surgery Funding: Insurance
Insurance Outcome: 1st Letter Approval
ROBUS YORKIESNPOMS's Bariatric Surgeon